[ Latest updated press release http://www.newtekjournalismukworld.com/your-voice/press-release-from-in-dispute-crew-of-new-brighton-lifeboat-station ]
Statement from New Brighton Lifeboat Crew Press Release – On behalf of the 12 recently dismissed New Brighton Lifeboat Crew
We the former crew members at New Brighton Lifeboat Station would like to make the following statement as the RNLI have been putting out information in a way that hides the truth.
Firstly we need to make the public aware that our first concern has always been the safety of the public - that is why we gave our time, dedication and passion to the RNLI.
We would go to sea right now despite the way we have been treated if we were called upon. We are proud of our station which has been in existence since 1863 and we were proud to be part of the RNLI.
Our dispute is with individuals within that organisation who do not seem to care about our issues.
There is no issue over training. There was an issue last year regarding the way a new training regime was implemented (which has failed miserably) but training has been ongoing at the station.
The RNLI have told the media that there are 12 crew members who have refused to sign a form that was put before us. They have stated that 16 have signed.
What they have failed to explain is that they are counting non seagoing personnel in their figures. The number of sea going crew who have signed is 8. The majority of these are quite new to the station.
In October 2015 there were 25 operational crew.
Seventeen of the 25 signed a collective grievance which was submitted to the RNLI.
This covered a number of issues including the fact that the senior Helmsman (the most senior sea going person on the lifeboat) was forced to resign as part of a deliberately orchestrated plot by the Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) supported by paid staff from the RNLI. Despite providing emails, statements, transcripts and verbal accounts, the matter was not investigated correctly.
The RNLI had breached their own policies and so the grievance was dismissed to cover up their own incompetence. Complaints of bullying and derogatory comments made about crew were even covered up. That resulted in 8 crew members resigning. They were crew members with decades of experience including a Hovercraft Commander with nearly 25 years’ service.
So out of the 25 crew there were only 17 left. Of those left a number were relatively new and inexperienced. The lifeboat and hovercraft were off service for long periods of time due to lack of crew (that means not available to carry out a rescue). This was never revealed to the public.
The Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) then started to recruit more people to make the numbers up. In the main good well-meaning individuals but with no experience.
Things did not improve at the station. The Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) was not really trusted by the crew. There was resentment at the way he seemed to favour a couple of individuals over the rest of the crew and his actions did nothing to repair the damage.
Recently the crew were asked to sign a form that most had signed when they joined. No other lifeboat crew around the coast were asked to sign the form. No reasonable explanation was given as to why we should sign the form. Questions were asked about it but not answered. It was hinted that it was to show commitment which was insulting because we were all committed to saving lives at sea.
How did the RNLI deal with the mess they created?
Simple, sack the crew and close the station, hoping that the matter will just go away and be forgotten about.
Unfortunately for them they are dealing with a group who are passionate about saving lives at sea and do not want the public to be put at risk.
The RNLI state that public safety will not be affected by the closure of New Brighton Lifeboat Station, our nearest station is Hoylake, who are a fantastic crew with a state of the art boat, however, they cannot get around the coast quick enough in an emergency, New Brighton Lifeboat, until recent months could be in the water within 10 minutes, only last year a number of youngsters were saved who had minutes to live, imagine searching for a swimmer and only seeing a hand sticking out of the water, this youngster is alive because of the skill and dedication of that crew as well as their quick response.
We also have a hovercraft which can save people from mud. The next nearest hovercraft is at Morecambe.
We the former crew members want the public realise that there is a lot more to this story than they are being told and we only hope that the truth eventually comes out so we can go back to doing what we have been doing so well for many decades, saving lives at sea and being there to protect your family’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
There has been over 300 years of experience lost from the station in the last 10 months, this has either come as a result of crew being “removed” from the crew or they have resigned as they were not able to work under a management that is quite frankly ill-informed and not capable of carry out the task of running a lifeboat station.
These events have come about as a result of a conflict of personality between management and the Senior Crew who did not agree with the way they and the rest of the station were being treated. It soon became apparent that there was a clearly evidenced scheme to get rid of the experienced crew, this was well documented and the RNLI were a part of this.
There was no reason to remove these crew, they were and still are the experience that meant that every time the lifeboat went to sea it had a well-trained and effective crew.
Now that 20 crew members have been removed from the station, there are now 5 that remain, not the majority that the RNLI would have the public believe.
This blog will include a range of reports and opinion pieces covering many issues. It will be YOUR Voice.
Running a news based website is fun, time consuming and can be costly. If you would like to help the site keep afloat please use the donate button